Best Book Club Picks for January 2021

by Heather Caliendo
best book club picks for january 2021 - book club chat
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Time to start the New Year off right with the best book club picks for January 2021!

It’s safe to say that no one is sad to see the end of 2020. Here’s hoping for a much better 2021!

Earlier, I put together my big list of must-read book club picks for 2021 so be sure to check it out. Really excited for so many fantastic books! Bookmark that list as I will update it throughout the year when titles publishing later in the year are announced.

If you’re new to the site, I also put together these monthly lists, which are a combination of books that will publish that month and ones already published. So there’s never a shortage of books to choose for your book club. You can always reach out to me for specific recommendations as well.

Let’s get into the best book club picks for January 2021!

The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict

I’ve heard some great things about The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict. If you’re not familiar with the author, Marie really focuses her stories on women of the past—from inventor Hedy Lamarr to Clementine Churchill. The Mystery of Mrs. Christine takes a closer look at Agatha Christie’s mysterious 11-day disappearance in 1926. Here’s the synopsis:

In December 1926, Agatha Christie goes missing. Investigators find her empty car on the edge of a deep, gloomy pond, the only clues some tire tracks nearby and a fur coat left in the car — strange for a frigid night. Her World War I veteran husband and her daughter have no knowledge of her whereabouts, and England unleashes an unprecedented manhunt to find the up-and-coming mystery author. Eleven days later, she reappears, just as mysteriously as she disappeared, claiming amnesia and providing no explanations for her time away.

The puzzle of those missing eleven days has persisted. With her trademark historical fiction exploration into the shadows of the past, acclaimed author Marie Benedict brings us into the world of Agatha Christie, imagining why such a brilliant woman would find herself at the center of such murky historical mysteries. 

What is real, and what is mystery? What role did her unfaithful husband play, and what was he not telling investigators? 

Agatha Christie novels have withstood the test of time, due in no small part to Christie’s masterful storytelling and clever mind that may never be matched, but Agatha Christie’s untold history offers perhaps her greatest mystery of all.

You can order the book on Amazon here.


Admission by Julie Buxbaum 

I don’t typically recommend YA books to book clubs—just because I don’t often feel the subject matter warrants itself for a huge discussion among adults. But Admission is a different story. It was inspired by the recent college admissions scandal so if your members had any interest in that—this is one to consider! Admission focuses on what happens with a privileged teenager girl’s life is shattered by the scandal. Here’s the synopsis:

It’s good to be Chloe Wynn Berringer–she has it all–money, privilege, and a ticket to the college of her dreams. Or at least she did until the FBI came knocking on her front door, guns at the ready, and her future went up in smoke. Now her B list celebrity mother is under arrest in a massive college admissions bribery scandal, and Chloe might be the next one facing charges. The public is furious, the headlines are brutal, and the US attorney is out for blood.

As everything she’s taken for granted starts to slip away, Chloe must reckon not only with the truth of what happened, but also with the examination of her own guilt. How much did she really know-or guess? Why did her parents think the only way for her to succeed was to cheat? And what does it really mean to be complicit? 

Bestselling author Julie Buxbaum takes on the college admissions bribery scandal that rocked the country in this timely tale of the hyper elite and the hyper competitive, and the lengths they go to stay at the top.

You can order the book on Amazon here.


Waiting for the Night Song by Julie Carrick Dalton

Waiting for the Night Song by Julie Carrick Dalton is another good one to consider. Julie’s unique background in science, agriculture and journalism informs her prose and it’s said to be climate fiction, literary fiction, and suspense all rolled into one package. Here’s the synopsis:

Cadie Kessler has spent decades trying to cover up one truth. One moment. But deep down, didn’t she always know her secret would surface?

An urgent message from her long-estranged best friend Daniela Garcia brings Cadie, now a forestry researcher, back to her childhood home. There, Cadie and Daniela are forced to face a dark secret that ended both their idyllic childhood bond and the magical summer that takes up more space in Cadie’s memory then all her other years combined.

Now grown up, bound by long-held oaths, and faced with truths she does not wish to see, Cadie must decide what she is willing to sacrifice to protect the people and the forest she loves, as drought, foreclosures, and wildfire spark tensions between displaced migrant farm workers and locals. 

Waiting for the Night Song is a love song to the natural beauty around us, a call to fight for what we believe in, and a reminder that the truth will always rise.

You can order the book on Amazon here.


If I Disappear by Eliza Jane Brazier

True crime podcasts are still so popular now! If I Disappear by Eliza Jane Brazier explores feminist discussion surrounding true crime stories and the pursuit of women to empower themselves from becoming victims in a world that wants them to disappear. This one is also being developed for a TV series so be sure to read the book before the show airs. Here’s the synopsis:

Sera loves true crime podcasts. They give her a sense of control in a world where women just like her disappear daily. She’s sure they are preparing her for something. So when Rachel, her favorite podcast host, goes missing, Sera knows it’s time to act. Rachel has always taught her to trust her instincts.

Sera follows the clues hidden in the episodes to an isolated ranch outside Rachel’s small hometown to begin her search. She’s convinced her investigation will make Rachel so proud. But the more Sera digs into this unfamiliar world, the more off things start to feel. Because Rachel is not the first woman to vanish from the ranch, and she won’t be the last… 

You can order the book on Amazon here.


A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes

For fans of Circe by Madeline Miller, be sure to add A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes, which is a retelling of the Trojan War, to your list! This one was released in the UK last year and will see the US debut on January 26. Here’s the synopsis:

This is the women’s war, just as much as it is the men’s. They have waited long enough for their turn . . .

This was never the story of one woman, or two. It was the story of them all . . .

In the middle of the night, a woman wakes to find her beloved city engulfed in flames. Ten seemingly endless years of conflict between the Greeks and the Trojans are over. Troy has fallen.

From the Trojan women whose fates now lie in the hands of the Greeks, to the Amazon princess who fought Achilles on their behalf, to Penelope awaiting the return of Odysseus, to the three goddesses whose feud started it all, these are the stories of the women whose lives, loves, and rivalries were forever altered by this long and tragic war. 

A woman’s epic, powerfully imbued with new life, A Thousand Ships puts the women, girls and goddesses at the center of the Western world’s great tale ever told.

You can order the book on Amazon here.

Happy reading!

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